Environmental organisation condemns Centre’s move to set up SNF storage facility

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The apex court had directed NPCIL to set up an Away From Reactor Spent Fuel storage facilitya within a period of five years ending in May 2018.

Under these circumstances, the government has proposed to conduct a public hearing on July 10 over setting up of the storage facility. (Representational image)

Chennai: Environmental organisation Poovulagin Nanbargal has condemned the Central government's move to set up a Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) storage facility at Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited's (NPCIL) nuclear power plant in Kudankulam, Tirunelveli.

Urging the Central government to withdraw its move, G Sundarrajan, managing trustee of the organisation, said that a mishap in the storage facility or in its vicinity could cause a disaster on the scale of Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant incident of 2011.

The apex court had directed NPCIL to set up an Away From Reactor Spent Fuel storage facilitya within a period of five years ending in May 2018. NPCIL, however, filed a petition in February 2018, seeking five more years to set up the Away From Reactor facility to store the Spent Nuclear Fuel generated from the two plants. The court then extended the deadline to 2022.

In a PIL filed before the Supreme Court, the NGO sought that NPCIL should be directed to shut down the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) units 1 and 2 for failing to set up an Away From Reactor facility.

Mr Sundarrajan demanded that the state government should withdraw the move and develop a proper plan to establish a safe, permanent fuel storage facility instead. He also urged the government to halt power production in KKNPP. The country has not yet developed the technology required to store spent fuel, he said.

Under these circumstances, the government has proposed to conduct a public hearing on July 10 over setting up of the storage facility.

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